Northern Virginia is full of entertaining activities, from escape rooms to museums in nearby Washington D.C. After a day of sightseeing or simply enjoying the neighborhood, try a locally-owned restaurant to cap off your day with a delicious dinner. Or, take a weekend morning stroll for a brunch that will fuel you for the day’s adventures.
Northern Virginia’s Best Locally Owned Restaurants
Here are 10 local favorites, in no particular order, to try the next time you find yourself out and about in the Northern Virginia area.
Since 1960, Vienna, VA’s Vienna Inn has served up comfort food for residents and visitors alike. The restaurant is famous for its chilli macs and chilli dogs, selling more than 10,000 hot dogs alone every month. Weekly specials include chicken parm, meatloaf, and Italian sausage subs, among other classics. Vienna Inn was recently named “Best Dive Bar” by Northern Virginia Magazine thanks in part to its wide selection of local and imported beers, which can be purchased by the keg for events.
Trummer’s On Main
Trummer’s On Main certainly lives up to its reputation of providing New York City style with historic Northern Virginia charm. Located in Clifton, VA, the fine dining establishment delights with lunch, dinner, brunch, and Sunday Supper specials like seafood pot pie, venison tartare, and short rib omelettes. Its more casual bar setting, which features creative cocktails and distinguished wines, hosts a happy hour every Tuesday through Friday. Trummer’s regularly offers themed pop ups and wine tasting menus as well.
The Liberty Tavern
Arlington’s Liberty Tavern is located in a historic building, the perfect setting for a sophisticated dinner or a quick bite to eat on a weeknight. The tavern specializes in using fresh, in season ingredients for dishes like spicy clam soup, wood fired pizzas, and its all you can eat breakfast buffet. Liberty Tavern makes all of its sausages, pastas, breads, and desserts in house.
Cava Mezze operates five Mediterranean hangouts throughout the Northern Virginia area. Its fresh, light fare includes watermelon and feta salad, whole branzino, chickpea hash, lamb meatballs, and vegan and gluten-free specialties. Every Monday night, guests can create their own three-course mezze dinner for just $25.
At Bistro L’Hermitage, you can soak in the cozy vibes at one of OpenTable’s 100 most romantic restaurants of 2018. This locally owned restaurant features a French-inspired menu featuring escargots, mussels, entrecote steak, fois gras, and other classics. Adventurous eaters can leave the decision making to the chef with a five or seven course tasting menu featuring daily specials, and large groups can enjoy a prixe-fixe menu of their own. Don’t forget to top it all off with a creme brulee or millefeuille cake for dessert.
L’Auberge Chez Francois and Jacques’ Brasserie
Family owned since 1954, L’Auberge Chez Francois remains true to its mission of serving good, honest food at affordable prices and in a memorable ambiance. Diners can select from a wide range of Alscacian dishes from the restaurant’s prix-fixe only format, which includes five courses for dinner. Keep in mind that this locally owned restaurant keeps a packed schedule of events, including a Bastille Day celebration, wine dinners, and cooking demos. Jacques’ Brasserie, located at the garden level of L’Auberge, is open Tuesday through Saturday for more a more casual dining experience.
Chef Geoff had a simple goal when he opened his namesake restaurant nearly 20 years ago: Create a locally owned restaurant that he himself would want to go to as his neighborhood hangout. The space hosts daily happy hours, half-price wine specials on Wednesdays, and weekend brunches. Loyal diners benefit from a rewards program, which can be redeemed for the restaurant’s beloved pizzas, burgers, homemade pastas, and featured dishes like Madras curry chicken and jumbo lump crab cakes.
Immortalized as a Georgetown University hangout for decades, The Tombs seamlessly transitions from family brunches for visiting parents to a go-to bar at night for students. Dine on crispy pork spring rolls, fried mac and cheese, sandwiches, burgers, and happy hour and late night specials. For brunch, you can’t go wrong with homemade biscuits and gravy. The Tombs also offers weekly specials, from prime rib on Sundays to meatloaf on Fridays.
Named for the year Georgetown University was founded, 1789 provides a quintessential DC dining experience in its antique-filled, renovated Federalist building. Menu selections change daily but always feature fresh, seasonal ingredients, which diners can pair with a wide selection of American wines. Previous dishes have included asparagus bisque, seared scallops and summer zucchini, soft shell crabs, and tea-smoked duck breast.
Pizzeria Paradiso takes its beer selection as seriously as it does its pizzas. Diners can create their own from an extensive list of toppings or choose a chef-created pie, like the seafood-laden Di Mare pizza or extra-spicy Atomica. Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and gluten-free crusts are also available. Beer, cider, and wine menus vary by location, but you can expect a selection of dozens of carefully curated drafts and bottles at each.